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Three tugboats rescue grounded freighter in Detroit River

Three tugboats rescue grounded freighter in Detroit River
Three tugboats rescue grounded freighter in Detroit River 02:06

(CBS DETROIT) - It turns out three was the lucky number for a Portuguese freighter stuck in the Detroit River; that's how many tugboats it took to free the cargo ship Tuesday afternoon.

The "Barbro G" carrying 21,000 tons of wheat from Canada to Italy ran aground Monday after its bow thrusters failed. 

"Astounding! People have worse days than me," Michael Kensicki, who came to see the sight from Warren, said. 

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

There wasn't any damage to the ship, people, or environment. 

"They got to have a little bit more control on what they're doing, you know," Bill, another spectator, said. 

"All day yesterday, the Coast Guard was working with the salvage team and doing calculations as to how much power and how many tugs are needed to free the vessel," LT. j.g. Adeeb Ahmad with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit said.  

It's what they did when another cargo ship got stuck in the St. Clair River earlier this month. The Coast Guard told reporters there aren't any similarities between the two groundings. 

But because Pam Brown from Dearbon missed the first, she was out at the Detroit Riverfront before dawn. 

"My husband calls me a ship head," Brown said. 

Brown joined a crowd of onlookers who soaked in the spectacle as three tugboats, the "Pennslyvania," "Wisconsin" and "Ontario," churned their mighty engines, nudging the 623-foot freighter.

In about two hours it was free.  

"I didn't think it was going to move. I was watching them like it ain't going nowhere. And then, all of a sudden, it started moving. So I think it's kind of cool. Glad I waited six hours for it," Brown said. 

Now that the freighter is once again floating, it will head to the Belle Isle Anchorage, where three things will take place: a third party will determine whether the ship can continue its journey to its final destination, the Coast Guard will board the vessel to determine what caused the grounding, and the crew who on the bridge at the time of the grounding will go on shore to get a chemical test, which is standard procedure.

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